Jul. 3rd, 2006 11:31 am
changeling: (Default)
Couldn't sleep last night. Tried to read for a bit; didn't work. Scribbled down menu plan for fiesta; didn't work. Tried to have a drink of water (dehydration can cause insomnia); didn't work. Eventually fell asleep, but had some sort of traumatic awful dream that meant it was a very rocky sort of sleep. Can't remember it now, but hey.

This is the third night in a row of bad sleep. Steph and I slept in something chronic on Sunday morning, and after we'd gone to bed at a sensible time, too. Don't know what's going on with my body and sleep right now, but I'd like it to stop, thanks.

Decided to sidle into the day, so got online rather than do anything productive. Discovered that although I updated my food blog yesterday (I'm seriously going to have to start taking photos – just as soon as I find the cable for my camera), blogger had deleted the post. This made me panic a bit, because I had the recipes saved on my computer, but not the blither surrounding it. Logged into blogger to work out what was going on, and discovered that it was saved as a draft. I could have bet the small dog sitting beside me on this bed that it had been published, but hey. It's still there, and that's the important thing.

Oh, and how much do I love Melbourne? It's just got everything cuisine-y. Apparently, according to [livejournal.com profile] aphephobia, there's a Mexican food shop in Richmond, near Passion Foods, which my Mother-in-NotLaw keeps insisting we visit. I want to check it out – maybe tomorrow or Wednesday this week. This is so full of awesome. Hopefully she can remember the name. That's going to make my life that little bit easier, even if I still have the Vegan Conundrum to struggle with. I think I've got a good draft menu worked out that is easily vegan, though. I just want to find one more "main" that I haven't cooked before, to keep it interesting.

Hoorah, food!


Jul. 2nd, 2006 10:10 pm
changeling: (Default)
I'm going to have my birthday party in late August (it'll be my 23 & 6 months party), and I'm going to go with a Mexican Fiesta theme. It'll be fun and exciting for me, because I'm going to do some research and go as authentic as I can with the food.

On the other hand, it'll be difficult as all hell challenging, as much of Mexican cooking relies on meat and cheese. Some dishes I've adapted, but there's a whole lot (particularly quesadillas) that I haven't even tried yet. I don't think I've made a Mexican soup yet, but I'm interested in the tortilla soup (it's a dry soup, or pasta. I'm learning stuff!) I don't want to resort to pretend food like fake cheese or fake meat. I may recant this for the sake of trying out a vegan quesadilla, but I'd rather such a thing be a bonus rather than the main thrust of the meal.

The other problem is that there's stuff you just can't get here. I've never cooked with cacti for a very good reason – they're generally not considered food here. I've never seen a tomatilla. Hell, I've never seen blue or white corn, or green tomatoes. The chaps in [livejournal.com profile] mexicanfood mentioned a herb I've never heard of (epazote?). I don't really believe in importing food, or using tinned food, though I might see if I can get canned cacti (I forget the Mexican word for it and it's too late to look it up) from USA Foods. I'd like to make everything from first principles, as it were. So, I hear you ask, why make life so hard for yourself?

Because I love Mexican food. I really, really love it. I love a vegetarian chili almost drowning in cumin. I love adding cayenne, paprika and chilli. I love what a good combination of tomato, red onion and corn can do. I love tortillas. I love home-made salsa and guacamole. And I love challenging myself to find ways of making non-vegan food.

I already know I'm going to include sweet empanadas, in ode to the recipe I begged off [livejournal.com profile] saunteringdown and then didn't get around to cooking before she defriended me (all her posts are friends-only, so I just can't get back into it. Sigh). I've also got this idea for making chocolate-stuffed chocolate-covered chillis based on this recipe – though mine will be stuffed with some sort of chocolate mole, I think, and then half-dipped in chocolate the way strawberries are. And I'm going to make wholegrain Mexican wedding cookies as per 101 Cookbooks. I'm probably also going to make my orange-spiced dark chocolate mudcake, not because it's Mexican, but because it's bloody delicious, and made with freetrade Central American chocolate.

I have what seems to be a pretty good resource book in my Mexican Cooking book, by Roger Hicks (that I borrowed from my parents), but I don't want to rely on it for all my recipes. I'd like to get as many "authentic" recipes as I can, ideally from friends and so forth, especially since there seems to be a dearth out there on teh intarwebs, and on Livejournal (shock horror!).

Also the number of my friends and family that I invite will affect what I cook, and how much. I'd love to have a sit-down meal – based on what little I know of the Mexican comida – but that's obviously impractical since I'll be inviting more than four–six people. It's clearly going to be a stand-up buffet sort of thing. I'd still like some sort of concept of courses, though.

Steph said that the day of the party she and I should eat In The Mexican Way, complete with marienda (second breakfast – which always reminds me of Hobbits) and siesta.

And now a final thought from my love, who hijacked my computer when I went to turn off the heater and blow out the candles:
It's the sleepy time now so I have to go byebye and turn off the heater and come snuggle.

sleepying time.

I have to go. I have so many more ideas to note down, and so many more plans to make, but my love is mewing for me to come to bed, and I can't resist that. Not to mention the now physical as well as emotional pain that she's in due to work.

To bed.
changeling: (Default)
So S—— and I are on this diet, and S——'s mum N—— decided that she and S——'s dad were going to come along for the ride. We offered to cook, and they agreed. S—— has since started a three-week full-time contract, and so I'm the one doing all the cooking at the moment. It's been sometimes stressful, but also exciting.

Two days ago I made dolmades for the first time. For those not in the know, dolmades are (grape) vine leaves wrapped around a mixture of rice and herbs. I also added in a bit of spinach and third of an eggplant, roasted. (S—— says I'm obsessed with roasting things at the moment, and it's sort of true. Definitely for eggplant and capsicum – you just get the best flavour that way.) S—— and I both adore them, and are a leetle obsessed with them, from time to time.

I'm glad I made the effort. They were delicious! So much tastier than the rice alone was (which wasn't very special), and I was sorry I ever doubted the recipe's suggestion of cinnamon. Mmmm. If I'd had some willing hands to help me wrap them, they wouldn't have taken that long to prepare, either. I had a big jar of vine leaves, and I thought they weren't going to be enough, but I still have half the jar left. I may make more later this week ... maybe with roasted capsicum in them.

Yesterday I did some research on tortillas. They're the final frontier for S—— and I in terms of our standard Mexican fare – they're the only part of tacos or burritos that we don't make from scratch. I'd borrowed one of my parents' Mexican books that has good recipes and good information in it, and they said that traditionally that the dried corn was boiled with lime. I thought that sounded pretty interesting, and easy to do, and set out to find out more.

I discovered that while I'd been thinking of the citrus fruit, it was in fact the mineral lime! So that was slightly embarrassing. Definitely one for the when we move out and have our own place plans, I think. Still, there are less-traditional recipes that incorporate flour that I can use in the meantime. I need to get more maize meal, though (certainly different stuff from what's known as cornflour in Australia!). And the local health food shop sells amaranth and quinoa flours, which would be from the right part of the world (unlike wheat flour), so I'd like to try that. Both sorts cost a bit, though. I can't wait until I have a job ...

So with so much Mexican food banging around in my head yesterday, we had that for dinner last night. I was also preparing food for lunches today, and decided that I'd continue the Mexican theme. Part of the diet was no added fats (only some good fats in their original context, like ground flax/linseeds or olives), so it was a challenge to make good-tasting refried beans (something I've been wanting to do for awhile!). I actually made them with a can and a half of kidney beans and a can of lentils mixed together, which worked really nicely. They turned out so brilliantly even without any olive oil or lard (!) I was really proud. I made tortilla chips, too – baked some bought white corn tortillas in the oven brushed with lime juice and cayenne & paprika, and some with lime juice and black pepper (these were for S——'s mum, who doesn't like spice). That was an inspiration from Fat Free Vegan. They were nice; the lime was more subtle than I expected, and I might have modulated the amount of spice I loaded on next time, but it was great to be able to have a crispy corny taste without worrying about the oil. The texture was strange – more like a pappudum than the corn chips I'm used to.

I was thinking yesterday that I might have a Mexican fiesta for a birthday party. I haven't had my birthday yet, so I thought I might fix 27th of August (when I will be 23 1/2). I'll have a piñata and multiple courses and sweet empanadas and everything. The decorations will be in azure and turquoise and russet and goldenrod and it'll be great. People will just have to wear party finery appropriate to the fiesta. I still want to have the Jazz Era picnic, but I think I'll arrange it for next year. It's too cold at the moment anyway!

So, those are my adventures in food. Tune in again next time!

Oh, I forgot to mention the wonderful dark-chocolate with orange and spice mudcake I made last week. It was awesome. The first mudcake I've ever made, and I was adapting another recipe and making it vegan and less fatty ... and it all worked. Used really good chocolate, too – Green & Black's cooking chocolate for the cake, and Green & Black's Maya Gold for the icing. I put on .3kg in the last week, though. Oops.

But it was TOTALLY worth it.

... maybe I'll make the mudcake as my birthday cake. Mmm, tasty.

Brilliant! My friend M—— has just called and so I'm off for some kinesiology to fix my really bad shoulders and back. Yippee!


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